Decades in the making: Graduate gets cap, gown

Elizabeth Farmer spoke to a group of students at the Greer campus about her educational journey. She was presented several gifts as well as a cap and gown by Limestone's Upstate Area Coordinator Teresa Bratt.

By Craig Peters of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Half a century after earning her degree from Limestone College, Elizabeth Farmer received her cap and gown on October 16.

Teresa Bratt, Upstate area coordinator for Limestone's Extended Campus program, presented Farmer with the cap and gown, a book on the history of Limestone College and other campus memorabilia.

Bratt aligned the tassel on the cap so it would sit on Farmer's right, the position that signifies graduation, prompting an accomplished smile from Farmer and kindling memories Farmer has made through nearly 10 decades as a pupil, teacher and retiree.


"It was wonderful to think of it," Farmer said.

Farmer, who was born in 1913 and grew up on a farm in the Campobello area, enrolled at Limestone College in 1930 with the goal of earning a teaching degree in four years.

The Great Depression altered Farmer's plans because the $420 for tuition was hard to come by, even though she received a $100 scholarship. Part of that scholarship included dusting buildings on campus.

After completing two years worth of courses, Farmer was eligible to obtain a teaching position. She did so and began going to extension classes after her 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. school days.

Farmer completed her degree requirements in 1959, but was unable to get a cap and gown. That prideful moment came Thursday night after she addressed a group of Limestone College students at the Greer National Guard Armory, which serves as one of the school's extended campus sites.

Farmer taught school for 43 years, including 29 years of second grade at Inman Elementary, from which she retired in 1975. She recalled having 52 first graders in one of her classes at Holly Springs earlier in her career.

Wadette Cothran with Camp Care, the Inman nursing home where Farmer resides, said Farmer taught District 1 Superintendent Jimmy Littlefield and Cothran in second grade. Cothran said Farmer's influence continues to reach through northwest Spartanburg County.

"It's an honor to have her," Cothran said. "She is just a blessing."

Camp Care workers presented Farmer with a framed report card from Limestone College. Farmer thought it was great, but contested how "some C (grades) got on there."